St Wulstan’s Church on the Warndon estate, Worcester have been seeing their church family grow through their ‘Mainly Music’ singing group. In this video made by the Diocese of Worcester, the Vicar, Sarah Northall talks about how the group came about and how the love and fellowship of the church family has been felt by the young families attending the group.
Coming to St Wulstan’s not long before the pandemic, a difficult time to be developing new relationships and partnerships within the community, Sarah felt the best place to start was with the ‘creation story’ of the church in Warndon. As she explains in the video, St Wulstan’s was founded by a group of young mums who wanted the best for their families and for their community to have its own place of worship, a church that would be their own place. Now approaching its 60th birthday, St Wulstan’s still has a few members that were the children of those original families.
Going back to the church’s roots, Sarah started a Mainly Music group to reach out to families with young children. Mainly Music is a Christian organisation, they usually provide the resources at a cost for churches to run the groups and families are expected to contribute ‘the cost of a Happy Meal’ to take part. Wonderfully, when Sarah described the community at Warndon that she was hoping to bless through running a group, Mainly Music generously provided the resources so that St Wulstan’s don’t have to charge their families anything.
Sarah speaks with great joy about how the church family at St Wulstan’s has grown since the pandemic, as the church is ‘striving to secure our legacy as a church for everyone’. She believes having an inter-generational church has contributed to this feeling of family as well as including everybody in the whole life of the church whether they are in the congregation on Sundays or part of a community group, for example asking the Mainly Music mums and dads to pray for a Sunday morning family who were getting ready for their mother’s funeral the following week.
Sarah feels strongly that God calls everyone to be generous with what they have and as ‘a cash poor church’ that St Wulstan’s needs to be generous with their building, this has led to other groups and an after school club using the church, strengthening relationships within the Warndon community. There are also plans to form a community choir to celebrate the church’s diamond jubilee next year.
Speaking to Sarah, what comes across is her love for Warndon, the importance of community and blessings that these community bonds create. She explains the challenges of the reputation of a place, that ‘deprivation’ is a label meant to help people by highlighting that an area is one we should be taking extra care of but it often leads to a negative story being reflected back to people. She believes that just as we have ‘areas of outstanding natural beauty’ that Warndon should be commended as an ‘area of outstanding community beauty’. Her hope is that ‘Warndon becomes a byword for something happy, healthy, chaotic and glorious.’
‘The Warndon Prayer’ is often heard at the church and is known by many, with the last line being adapted to the circumstances:
May we be safe, may we be set free from fear.
May we be as happy and as healthy and as whole as it is possible for us to be.
And because we have been here together today, may we have a song in our hearts to give away.